I've thought Nine Inch Nails was the best band in the world for a few years but I now know how terribly underestimated they are.
September 16, 1995. One of the first stops of the "Outside Tour," David Bowie's first tour in years. There was a rather large sold-out crowd at Great Woods. After Prick, I, not so patiently, waited for Nine Inch Nails, the second opening act, to appear. Suddenly, a great blow to the speakers and Trent, Charlie, Chris, Robin and Danny roared onto the stage with "Terrible Lie." As Trent yelled "Now, doesn't it make you feel better?" to "March of the Pigs" we answered, "YES!" A smile cracked across his beautiful face and the crush of the mosh pit broke a few more ribs. I watched in awe through "Wish" and screamed along with "Gave Up" and A"Down in it." There was an emotional pause, then, as blurred doves scrambled about on the screen behind the band. Trent disappeared behind the curtain as everyone prayed that the set wasn't over. He reappeared with a glowing saxophone in his hands. As he played quiet, hypnotic notes through the microphone, a figure walked onto the stage. The cries and yells of each human being in the center blended together into one chaotic boom as David Bowie stepped up to the microphone. They waltzed through "Subterranean" and Trent stepped forward, into the spotlight for a loud crashing version of "Scary Monsters." David and Trent switched vocals while Nine Inch Nails drummer, Chris Vrenna, played along with the big-haired Bowie drummer. Suddenly, the aching cries of "Hurt" bled through the speakers and the tears rolled down my face. This emotional song turned out to be the last song for Trent and friends. With a wave, they sadly disappeared from sight and David took over.
The set was decorated with various figures in Bondage. David glimmered, blinding to look at, as he relaxed on a desk for "The Man Who Sold the World" (the original is always better). The theatrics were hypnotizing as he bounded all over the stage for "Jump They Say" and slowly, as if hesitantly, finished with "Joe the Lion." I watched in awe through this performance and I'm sad, yet ecstatic, to say that I will never again see such a wonderful a spectacle (at least until I see NIN again)
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.